Lorraine Fountain was KTOH secretary

Born in Nawiliwili, Lorraine Fountain (1918-1999) was the daughter of Kauai police officer and commercial fisherman Edward Fountain and longtime Lihue schoolteacher Eva Fountain, and her brother, Edward, became a counselor at Kauai High School.

Her name first appeared in The Garden Island newspaper in Nov. 1926, when she took second place in a popularity contest won by Marie Keikilani Robinson of Waimea at the Kamehameha Day Carnival held at the Lihue Ballpark (then located in the area now occupied by the Pi‘ikoi Building and its adjoining parking lot).

And, on Oct. 8, 1938, when the first train ever to travel from Koloa Plantation to the Lihue Plantation mill stopped along the way at Lihue School, located in Pua Loke, it was met there by schoolchildren Lorraine Fountain and Anne Knudsen, who presented Grove Farm owner George Norton Wilcox and other dignitaries on board with lei.

Fountain graduated from Saint Andrew’s Priory, Honolulu, in 1936, and Mills College, Oakland, California, in 1939, and in 1940 she joined Kauai’s first radio station, KTOH, as secretary at its Ahukini Road location.

KTOH, which made its first public broadcast on May 8, 1940, was owned and operated by the Garden Island Publishing Company, Ltd.

Charlie Fern, manager of The Garden Island newspaper, was general manager of the station.

Fountain’s co-workers were manager Deane Stewart, program director William Parsons, engineer Robert Glenn, announcer and technician Clarence Mike Ashman, and property man Barney Von Wagner.

Shoichi Hamura and Chitoko Isonaga announced Japanese-language programs, and Abraham Albyalde was director of Ilocano broadcasts.

During World War II, while serving as a chairwoman of the Kauai unit of the American Legion Auxiliary, Lorraine Fountain sponsored dances for servicemen stationed on Kauai at locations such as the Lihue Hotel on Rice Street and the Kauai Pine gymnasium in Lawai.

Soldiers furnished music, refreshments and decorations, while Fountain sent out invitations to young Kauai women and provided chaperones.

In 1944, she was elected president of the auxiliary.

She married Wayne Rankin in 1946 and they had two children: Wayne Rankin Jr. and Lori Rankin Cummings.

Hank Soboleski has been a resident of Kauai since the 1960s. Hank’s love of the island and its history has inspired him, in conjunction with The Garden Island Newspaper, to share the island’s history weekly. The collection of these articles can be found here: https://bit.ly/2IfbxL9 and here https://bit.ly/2STw9gi Hank can be reached at hssgms@gmail.com


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